Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… te, a year into his first term as Houston’s mayor. A deputy secretary of energy during the Clinton administration, White made air quality a priority durin …"

Health worries pervade North Texas fracking zone

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Some residents of the heavily fracked Barnett Shale in North Texas blame their health problems on toxic oil and gas emissions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Delaware":

"… ett spreads across 5,000 square miles, an area more than twice the size of Delaware. The 26 air-monitoring stations there can’t quantify typical conditions …"

Plant expansions fueled by shale gas boom to boost greenhouse gas, toxic air emissions

By Talia Buford

At least 120 planned plant expansions driven by the fracking boom collectively could release 130 million tons per year of greenhouse gases.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… p; The Sasol project is among at least 120 of its type planned around the United States, according to data compiled and analyzed by the Environmental Integrity Pr …"

"… to the White House’s pledge  to slash  carbon emissions in the United States.  “The President made it very clear from the beginning of his Admi …"

"… ; Sasol also wants to build the first gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility in the United States, which would  transform natural gas into diesel fuel and products suc …"

New battlefront for petrochemical industry: benzene and childhood leukemia

By Kristen Lombardi

Jarrett McElheney grew up near a cluster of petroleum storage tanks. His parents believe benzene in drinking water gave him cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chemistry":

"… he API has financed additional work of his on benzene, as has the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main lobby. In a deposition taken last …"

A dozen dirty documents

By Kristen Lombardi and Jared Bennett

Twelve documents that stand out from the Center's new archive

Excerpts from this story referencing "Benzene":

"… 0 summary of the API’s research strategy, drafted by the group’s  Benzene Task Force, explains that the research program “is designed to protect m …"

"… rs of “personal injury claims,” an email exchange among members of the Benzene Health Research Consortium urges deletion of  “the reference to leg …"

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… ican tragedy.” Five million Americans at risk Benzene emissions in the United States have declined sharply since 1987, when federal regulators set the occupati …"

"… ng block.” Benzene ranks 17th among the top 20 chemicals produced in the United States, according to the federal government. The petrochemical industry’s deca …"

Internal documents reveal industry 'pattern of behavior' on toxic chemicals

By David Heath and Jim Morris

A new archive created by the Center and two universities will feature a trove of previously secret industry documents on toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Louisiana":

"… year we reached out to William Baggett Jr., a lawyer in Lake Charles, Louisiana, who had acquired more than 400,000 pages of documents from a decade-long …"

Years after black lung claim was wrongly denied, coal miner gets his due

By Chris Hamby

After more than nine years of fighting, coal miner Steve Day was posthumously awarded federal black lung benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… se was emblematic of the struggles faced by many other coal miners. A Center for Public Integrity investigation, conducted in partnership with ABC News, revealed that, in m …"

"… , and that's a pretty big price." Chris Hamby, a former reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, now works for BuzzFeed.   …"

Five-state study finds high levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas sites

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

A study of air emissions near oil and gas wells found strikingly high levels of benzene and other dangerous chemicals in some locations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… monitored for the peer-reviewed study, published today in the journal Environmental Health — is “potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtu …"

"… and director of the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment. In 40 percent of the air samples, laboratory tests found benzene, formal …"

"… terim chair of West Virginia University’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences and author of the study for that state. “Part of the …"

"… , a faculty emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh who served as an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official during the Reagan administration. The beginn …"

Bill aims to stop coal companies from denying benefits to miners with black lung

By Chris Hamby

Two coal-state senators plan to introduce legislation to reform the federal benefits program for black lung victims.

Excerpts from this story referencing "West Virginia":

"… Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, aims to put a stop to those strategies. "To say this is shameful is an un …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… for shady characters from overseas looking to funnel their wealth through New York’s luxury real estate. Keep reading 8. Sixteen high court judges ruled …"

Critic of artificial sweeteners pilloried by industry-backed scientists

By Chris Young

Any criticism of the artificial sweetener industry is met with a barrage of criticism, often from questionable sources.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… d’s ties to the manufacturer of aspartame. John Fernstrom told the Center for Public Integrity that his industry ties have “no impact on my work.” He says the m …"

Black lung claims by 1,100 coal miners may have been wrongly denied

By Chris Hamby

Black lung opinions by Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins should be assumed to lack credibility, senators are told at a hearing.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coal":

"… to a series of new initiatives.   Two major obstacles miners face: Coal companies have more resources to develop medical evidence, and miners ofte …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… rs in history. Extrapolating from those studies, scientists with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have tentatively concluded that arsenic is a serious p …"

"… pears to be safe,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement …"

How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

By David Heath

A ban on arsenic-containing pesticides was lifted after a lawmaker disrupted a scientific assessment by the EPA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… ion pounds of MSMA and another similar compound were sold each year in the United States. The weed killer retails for about $5 a pound. The companies joined forces …"

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… eet the EPA standard. Arsenic is especially common throughout the western United States. Some states have hot spots, such as Michigan’s “thumb” region, nort …"

Foul air in heavily fracked Texas county has couple looking for a way out

By Lisa Song

After 23 years in once-placid Karnes County, Texas, Lynn and Shelby Buehring say they're moving to escape toxic fumes from a fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… Nobody's there to help." Buehring has filed numerous complaints with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which oversees air quality within the state. One of her first comp …"

Energy Dept. confirms it's been on the wrong path since 2007

By Douglas Birch

A newly-released DOE study concludes the department can save billions by shelving a costly South Carolina nuclear fuel factory.

Excerpts from this story referencing "White House":

"… ium and uranium called MOX — the plant is supposed to produce. The White House put the project, located at the Energy Department’s former weapons pluto …"

Deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion blamed on regulatory failures

A 2013 blast at West Fertilizer that killed 14 "never should have occurred," Chemical Safety Board chairman says.

Herbicide ban on hold in Sri Lanka, as source of deadly kidney disease remains elusive

By Sasha Chavkin

After Sri Lanka's announced ban on a Monsanto herbicide, opponents challenged the action and convinced the president to put the ban on hold.

Excerpts from this story referencing "El Salvador":

"… fforts by some scientists and health officials, primarily in Sri Lanka and El Salvador, to remove the herbicide for its potential link to the mysterious kidney d …"

"… untry to target glyphosate for its alleged role in chronic kidney disease. El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved a ban on 53 agrichemicals including glyp …"

"… ling herbicide — will have repercussions beyond the island’s borders. El Salvador recently elected a new president, Salvador Sánchez-Cerén, and proponents …"

"… t, Salvador Sánchez-Cerén, and proponents of the pesticide ban passed by El Salvador’s legislature last year hope the former guerilla commander will sign a p …"

Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

By Zahra Hirji, Lisa Song and Jim Morris

Air pollution rules adopted last month in Colorado may have an impact on oil and gas drilling in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… are the next wave of issues for oil and gas,” Baizel said. Lawmakers in California and Pennsylvania are already considering adopting similar methane rules, h …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic kidney disease":

"… glyphosate in areas with heavy metals in the drinking water is causing the chronic kidney disease. Roundup is the top selling herbicide in the world, and Monsanto said the …"

Nuclear Waste: Energy Department proposes to kill multi-billion dollar nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

The costliest U.S. nonproliferation program has been undone by huge cost overruns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lindsey Graham":

"… by South Carolina’s congressional delegation. South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans, did not immediately respond to requests f …"

Nuclear Waste: Auditors find continuing mismanagement at nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch

The GAO complains anew about DOE's unwillingness to investigate cost increases at the MOX plant, and learn from its mistakes there

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… fuel. The NNSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. …"

"… llions more than first estimated, due to what the GAO last year called the Energy agency’s “record of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO r …"

"… of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO report found that the Energy department’s April 2013 draft estimate of the total cost of the plutoniu …"

"… ignored key steps in calculating the figure.   A recently-completed Energy Department study of the plutonium plant and alternatives, not yet released …"

Nuclear Waste: Cost of South Carolina fuel plant goes up by billions of dollars — again

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Douglas Birch

The MOX plant may cost another $30 billion to complete and operate, and federal officials are newly wary.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lindsey Graham":

"… ine what all of our options are.” Kevin L. Bishop, a spokesman for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — the principal champion of keeping the MOX project alive, said …"

EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns

By Douglas P. Guarino

Federal agency abandons phosphate-mining clean-up, leaving more than 100,000 residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing radiation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… nmental Protection Agency is walking away after a decades-long battle with Florida politicians and industry officials over cleaning up phosphate-mining waste …"

"… 0-square-mile residential area midway between Orlando and Tampa. However, Florida officials have long argued that the affected area need not be cleaned up i …"

"… , critics say. In a joint statement to Global Security Newswire, the Florida health and environment departments say they have no plans to examine the s …"

"… monitoring is not necessary. The statement, provided to GSN by Florida environmental protection spokeswoman Mara Burger, suggests the EPA decisio …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… air, worry on the ground Residents living along the chemical corridor of Texas and Louisiana often encounter 'upset' emissions — triggering pollution, …"

High bladder cancer rate shrouds New York plant, exposing chemical hazards in the workplace

By Jim Morris

A decades-long spate of bladder cancer at a Goodyear plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y. spotlights limits of regulation over dangerous chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nitro":

"… Goodyear, Monsanto, Lanxess Corp. of Pittsburgh and AC&S Inc. of Nitro, W.Va., according to the Environmental Protection Agency — import it fro …"

Days after investigation, coal miners' safety net scrutinized

By Bill Buzenberg

Center's 'Breathless and Burdened' series leads U.S. senators to call for changes, major hospital to halt program and review practices.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… The coal industry, along with many other sectors of our economy, such as energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, financial services, health insurance …"

Behind the story: 'Breathless and Burdened'

By Chris Hamby

Reporter Chris Hamby details his yearlong look at miners suffering from black lung disease, and their struggle for benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… rground and see the fruits of their labors enrich others and deliver cheap energy, who suck in dust and don’t complain as it blackens their lungs and chok …"

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